Lautoka Port to boost Fijian economy

A new port facility in Lautoka is expected to herald a new era of accelerated economic growth with increasing job prospects, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has said.

Participating at a ground-breaking ceremony on March 6, he said that the Amex Resources facility will include a new wharf and ship-loading infrastructure to export mined iron sand, the first such to reach international markets.

The challenges

The new Port, estimated to cost F$200 million is slated to be one of the largest for the South Pacific country, which has been facing natural disasters such as hurricanes and floods on the one hand and diplomatic winter followed by economic sanctions by its more powerful neighbours such as Australia and New Zealand on the other.

However, as Fiji moves towards a much-promised democratic election due to be held in September this year, there are signs of rapprochement.

China and Russia support the Bainimarama regime, ruffling feathers among the fully-developed economies of the free world.

Domestic consolidation

Facilities such as the new seaport will also consolidate the domestic political scene in Fiji.

The Lautoka Port will account for a berth, barge unloading facility, washing plant, stockpile area, ship-loading infrastructure, workshops and offices.

Turaga na Tui Vitogo, Ratu Viliame Sovasova, who was present at the ground-breaking ceremony described the port as a boon to Fijian people.

“We are thankful and grateful to the Government for facilitating such projects. The Lautoka seaport will eventually provide 300 unskilled and skilled jobs for Fijians in Ba and Lautoka,” he said.

Flow-on benefits

Mr Bainimarama said that as well as 300 new jobs, the Project will consistently deliver flow-on benefits across Fiji.

“We want jobs and economic opportunities for our young people. They deserve good career prospects. We want growth and success for Fijian businesses, big or small. We want every Fijian to earn a living that can support them and their families,” he said, speaking at the ceremony.

He claimed that his Government had spent substantial financial resources on such projects while economic reforms have been aimed at increasing domestic and foreign investment.

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